Dallas Magpies Begin MAAFL Championship Quest

The Dallas Magpies Australian Rules Football Club seeks to avenge its only league loss from last year when it begins the 2004 Mid-American Australian Football League season May 15 against the defending champion St. Louis Blues.


The game between the league rivals will begin at at Crowley Park in Richardson.


Last year, the Magpies, in its first year in the MAAFL, and Blues were locked in a tight struggle all season for the league crown. Both teams finished with matching 4-1 records, but the Blues took the crown on percentage points, thanks mainly to a thorough drubbing of an undermanned and wounded Magpies squad.


On April 26, 2003, the visiting Magpies were trampled by a St. Louis stampede. The Blues, showing no mercy, running up the score for a 68-point home win, propelling themselves to the championship and an automatic berth in Division I of the United States Australian Football League National Championship.


The bitter league defeat marked only one chapter in a growing rivalry between the two teams.


The Dallas-St. Louis rivalry was further stoked on May 17 when the teams met again in a non-league match on a neutral field during the Kansas City Classic tournament. St. Louis, which before the game took pleasure in exercising the bragging rights won earlier in the season, fell to the Magpies, which snuck away with an 8-point come-from-behind victory.


A 65-yard drop punt, kicked through the goal posts by Captain Stuart Rackham with less than 30 seconds to go, stole the match and propelled Dallas to an at-large berth in the Division 1 USAFL Nationals. The win also earned Dallas the No. 5 seed in the country, while St. Louis dropped to No. 8. The USAFL rankings committee had spoken, and St. Louis wasn’t pleased with the perception that it was not the top team in Mid America. With St. Louis and Dallas being the only two members of the MAAFL to make the Division 1 tournament, it was not a surprise when the teams were split at the national tournament, with Dallas in Group A and St. Louis landing in Group B. Neither Dallas nor St. Louis won their respective group to move on to the National Championship game, which meant the season’s rubber match was not meant to be. 


The MAAFL kickoff will be a crucial game for both squads as they try to get a leg up in the 2004 league race and the coveted automatic Division I bid. This time the Magpies have the home field advantage, and that coupled with the disappointment of being runners-up for the 2003 MAAFL championship should give the Magpies an edge in this heated rivalry.


Magpies 2004 MAAFL Schedule:

May 15 — vs. St. Louis

June 5 — @ Chicago

June 26 — vs. Cincinnati

July 24 — @ Nashville

Aug. 28 — @ Atlanta

Sept. 11 — vs. Milwaukee


About the Dallas Magpies:

The Dallas Magpies are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to fostering national and international amateur sports competition as well as promoting a cultural exchange between Americans and Australians. The Magpies participate in the Mid American Australian Football League, a division of the United States Australian Football League and also have a player, Brandon Blankenship, competing on the U.S. National team in international competition. The team is active in promoting the Australian national sport and Australian culture through clinics at area schools and by sponsoring events such as the annual Australia Day and ANZAC Day celebrations in the Metroplex.


For more details on organizing a school clinic, playing footy with the team or supporting the Dallas Magpies Australian Football Club, visit www.dallasfooty.com or e-mail the recruiting department (recruiting@dallasfooty.com).


- Stuart Rackham

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